With the Governor’s State of the State address behind us, the General Assembly’s spring session is now in full-swing in Springfield. Bills are being filed and priorities are being set. My priority this spring will continue to be putting common sense policies in place that enable our families and our communities succeed.

Work will need to begin immediately in Springfield on a balanced state budget for next year, and that starts with the approval of a revenue estimate. We don’t know how much we’ll have to spend in the coming fiscal year until we agree on a revenue estimate. It’s also required by law. For years, Speaker Madigan has ignored the law leading to a long string of unbalanced budgets that have left us billions of dollars in debt and unable to pay our bills.

As your Representative, I have sponsored numerous resolutions demanding that we follow the law and establish a realistic revenue estimate before negotiating budget details. To date, the Speaker has denied each and every one a hearing in the House, but I will be fighting again this spring for agreement on a revenue estimate before we begin discussing how to spend those taxpayer dollars.

In addition, the recent news of Illinois’ population loss should serve as no surprise to anyone in Springfield. Up to this point, the majority party has refused to get serious about any of the reforms that we all know Illinois needs to create and promote good jobs, get our fiscal house in order and help families succeed. Until that happens, we’ll continue to lose families and businesses for a lower cost of living and better opportunities in neighboring states.

This spring, I will be working to make our tax structure more family and business friendly. That includes promoting ways to reduce our sky-high property taxes that are straining family budgets, and to reduce regulations that drive up the cost of doing business in Illinois. I’ll also be fighting against new tax increases. Some on the other side of the aisle are looking already at ideas for new taxes to implement this year, including taxing Illinois motorists for each mile driven. That’s simply a terrible idea, and I am sponsoring House Resolution 766 which opposes the creation of a mileage tax.

We also must enact reforms to help get our pension debt and our workers compensation costs under control. Both are crucial to getting our state finances back on track and making Illinois competitive for good jobs.

We have a lot we need to accomplish in Springfield this session. Let’s get to work!